Jordan Sheffield Adapts To The Pro Game
Pitching prospects come in all shapes and sizes—but most of them start with a 6-foot plus frame, the better to leverage the moving parts that make a pitching motion work over and over again.
The Dodgers’ stash of young arms mostly fit the profile—from the slender 6-foot-2 Walker Buehler to the 6-foot-4 Mitchell White and 6-foot-6 Dustin May. And then there is righthander Jordan Sheffield. The 2016 supplemental first-round pick out of Vanderbilt possesses one of the more electric arms in the Dodgers’ system. But it is attached to a 5-foot-10, 190-pound frame.
"Yeah, obviously that’s something I’ve been knocked for since I was growing up. ‘Oh, you ain’t 6-foot.' " Sheffield said. ". . . I think that pushes me even harder.
"As a 6-foot and under pitcher, there’s just not that many—especially starters. It just makes me want to grind it even more and prove not only to myself but to everyone who is saying that.”
Because of his size, the Tommy John surgery already on his medical record and a lack of consistent command so far in his pro career, Sheffield is considered a candidate for a move to the bullpen. He’s heard that before, too.
"I just think I’m a starter,” Sheffield says. ". . . I believe in myself and I believe I can be a starter. That’s something I’m going to take to heart and work for and strive for."
Sheffield still has a lot to prove. In his full-season debut last year, he went 3-9, 4.70 in 25 games (24 starts) at two Class A affiliates, primarily low Class A Great Lakes. Control was a problem. He walked 57 in 107.1 innings.
"I learned a lot,” Sheffield said. "Just from the ups and downs this year—different coaches, different environments, different places I’ve never been before, (including) small towns. I think more for me it was how to overcome and bounce back from bad outings—because they came like that (snaps fingers).
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"It wasn’t like college where I was pitching every seven days . . . You learn a lot about your body and how to maintain it and how to be able to compete every fifth day instead of every seventh day. That was big for me.”